Being a quarterback is tough business. Yes, if you're a starter, it means the highest salaries in the NFL, plus the spoils of fame if you're a winner.
But with great talent come great expectations, and sometimes unreal ones, too. We expect quarterbacks to hold higher standards for themselves and to take the blame for their teams' failures. The great ones always seem to do it, even when it's not totally on them.
So it was a pretty stark contrast to watch the way the Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton and the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers handled things following their teams' playoff losses this past weekend.
Rodgers completed 17-of-26 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in the 23-20, last-second loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He was sacked four times, and despite being constantly under pressure, Rodgers shook loose for a few escape-artist tricks, too.
Dalton completed 29-of-51 passes for 334 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also fumbled once, untouched, in a third quarter where Dalton and the Bengals completely unraveled in what would be a 27-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Rodgers was more precise and gave his team a chance to win. He also blamed his team's loss on himself after the game. Dalton was error-prone and sloppy. And yet he barely said the word "I" once when it came to shouldering blame after the game.
See the contrast for yourself.